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Published Science Fiction Author and MLP G4 fanfiction writer. Like my work? Buy me a cuppa joe or visit my patreon!

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Be an Author: The Message · 2:05am Oct 29th, 2018

In my previous Be an Author* blog on Agendas, I wrote that every character has an agenda. You do, too.

You have an agenda.

You always have a reason to write a story. To communicate. If you are successful, you will have gotten your reader to think about... what?

Your message, of course.

“Friendship is magic” is the overarching message of MLP. So is “be kind to others.” In the season 8 finale, when Chancellor Neighsay says, “I thought friendship was something only ponies should share with each other—but you all taught me how wrong I was”, that’s the story’s message in a nutshell. Resonates as refuting the geopolitics of xenophobia and anti-immigration, doesn’t it? What could the writers have been thinking?!

The message is a super-power.

Repeat it with me: The message is super-power.

A good heart-felt message focuses your writing and acts like a signpost. The SF great, Kim Stanley Robinson, told me while giving pointers on writing that the most important thing to know is the message you are trying to get across. If you select something that tears into your soul, you'll give the story that special something that will resonate with your readers.

I wrote Filly Separated starting with the message. I thought about the child separation issue in the U.S., about what it would feel like to know you have lost your parents—not to have become orphaned—but to have physically lost them. Ugh, you may scoff. Topical. Newsy. But it is MLP, as demonstrated in the season finale cited above.

Now remember, you are not writing about your message. If you did so, you’d probably write more of an essay than a story. In my story, the action happens to filly who has come looking for her parents, but then you start thinking. Who are Spike's parents? That is not the focus of the story, but rather the reader’s growing sense of the elephant in the room. [Boy howdy was I surprised when Father Knows Beast aired the month after I published my story.]

As an exercise, notice what things in the news or in your life inspire a sense of helplessness or outrage. Think about what you would like to do about the situation. Then write a story about it.

*For my bonafides, look at my bio.

Be an Author—Article Index

Comments ( 2 )

(please respond to this for notifs purposes.)

The article started a discussion on The Writing Process group. It's a good one. Go read it.


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